Scott Guenther, an Katella High School grad-turned Kentucky thoroughbred breeder has enthusiastically supported of the Anaheim Police Department, especially the K9 unit. His donations are already responsible for a singularly-decorated police dog and, Tuesday night, he passed out 101 Challenge Coins to each of the K9 Unit’s six duos.
Branches of military and law enforcement have historically used Challenge Coins to prove membership and enhance morale of a unit. In this case, the handlers will share their custom-made coins amongst each other, with other agencies, and with civilians in special circumstances.
Each set of coins were embossed with an image of the dog, badge number, and the call number they use in the field.
“(The team) had no idea this was coming,” said Lt. James Kazakos, one time Canine sergeant, after the ceremony Tuesday night. “Scott is a really great man with a huge heart. His charitable nature is truly unique and this is just the latest example of that.”
It all started about four years ago, when Guenther donated nearly $15,000 to “Friends of a K9,” a charity supporting the unit, as a means to add a sixth dog.
The department used that money to buy a new German Shepherd and, at Kazakos’ request, named it “Guenther.” He and Ofc. Brett Klevos have formed a historically proficient team, finding an estimated three million dollars in cash and 1,000 pounds of miscellaneous drugs together.
Last year, at the department’s promotional ceremony, Guenther received the department’s Meritorious Service Award for his distinguished and dedicated service – the first dog ever to win the award in APD history.
“He was on fire. It seemed like every time we went out he had a hand in some big case,” said Klevos. “It’s just funny how things work out,” said Klevos. “I mean, Scott obviously has a talent with animals and somehow, the dog he’s responsible for adding to the unit happens to be the only ever dog to win that award? That can’t be coincidence.”
Guenther credits the city he grew up in for a lot of the success he has enjoyed in life and his donations to APD stem from a deep desire to give back.
“My relationship with APD has worked out perfectly because we’ve been able to benefit from my close ties with animals,” said Guenther. “I grew up in the city and it provided me with a solid foundation…neighborhood, community, and the responsibility that goes along with such. It was a wonderful place for a kid to be a part of, and for a family to thrive.”